The ability to return to state employment after retirement with an annual earnings limit of 50 percent of one’s prior salary is a benefit provided to state employees by the North Carolina state retirement system, according to University of North Carolina Wilmington spokeswoman Dana Fischetti in an email.
Under this provision of the state system, a very small number of retired faculty actually return to UNCW when needed to teach an occasional course in their field of expertise. Some staff employees have also returned to work in office support positions, again in accordance with state policy. Few employees achieve a six-figure salary before retirement, she said.
“Contrary to the assumptions in the question, UNCW does not have a group of ‘high-level retirees’ who made a ‘six-figure salary,’” she said.
According to Fischetti, the university currently has one employee on the payroll who recently retired at a six-figure salary and is doing work for the university on a temporary basis.
She said the retiree is being paid at an hourly rate that is about 50 percent of what that employee’s full salary was upon retirement. That rate, she explained, is considerably lower than what the university would have to pay a consultant or other temporary professional with the same skills as this retiree.
“State budget reductions have left UNCW and its sister institutions with vacant positions that cannot immediately be filled, but which are critical to the day-to-day operations of the university,” said Charlie Maimone, UNCW’s vice chancellor for business affairs, in the email. “We consider ourselves fortunate that the state allows us to hire back retirees on a temporary basis, because we can access experts in their fields at a fraction of the market rate, meeting critical needs of the university, while, at the same time, saving taxpayer dollars.”
Fischetti noted the employee who made six figures was asked to return to the university on a short-term basis to fulfill the duties of one of these open positions until it can be permanently filled. The university anticipates that a search will be conducted and a full-time replacement hired for this position within the next few months, at which time the temporary employment for this retiree will end, she said.
Date posted: October 7, 2011
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